We put five free online storage services, which let you upload your files to a 'virtual hard drive' and access them from your other devices, to the test to find out just which is the best one for you.
Drive Headquarters, the company behind DriveHQ, sells online storage, backup and other online services that appear to be designed mainly for business users. Its cloud-syncing desktop software, DriveHQ FileManager, was released in early 2007.
How it works
DriveHQ FileManager works very similarly to an FTP file transfer application. It has two panes in its user interface: The right side displays the contents of your local computer's hard drive, while the left pane shows the folders and files on your DriveHQ online storage space.
Transferring files or folders between these two directories is done by clicking on the item in question and dragging and dropping it into the other pane.
You can also click to select the file or folder you want to upload from your local hard drive and click the 'Upload' button to transfer it to your online storage space. It also works the other way around: You can copy a file to your local drive by selecting something on your storage space on the DriveHQ server and clicking the "Download" button.
Synchronising a folder between your local and online directories is done by right-clicking on the folder stored on your DriveHQ online drive and choosing the 'Synchronise with local' option. DriveHQ File Manager will automatically upload and download files between your online and local folders so that the contents of each match one another.
To share a folder on your DriveHQ online drive, you right-click on it, select 'Share' and enter the email address or DriveHQ username of the person you want to receive it. Your friend or colleague will then be e-mailed a link with which he can access the folder.
Uploading files to, and downloading them from, your online storage space is as speedy as you'd expect from an FTP setup.
What needs to be fixed
This service feels like it's just a basic online storage service - there's nothing really unique or 'cloud-like' about how it works. The DriveHQ FileManager application might as well be a typical FTP front-end application.
DriveHQ FileManager will feel familiar to anyone accustomed to using an FTP file transfer program. But that means it isn't as simple as an automatic-syncing cloud file storage system.
OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
Mobile apps: None
Storage size: 1GB
Maximum file size: Unlimited
Daily data-transfer limit: 1GB
Paid plans: 7 plans ranging from $2.99 (£1.91) to $69.99 (£44.75) per month or $29.99 (£19.10) to $699.99 (£447.50) per year), with maximum data transfer caps ranging from 4GB to 400GB per month
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